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B. Sin in a Believer’s life will result in:

2. Grieving God’s Holy Spirit

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

God’s Holy Spirit is not an “it” or just a force as some of the cults would have us to believe. He is fully God and has personality. One cannot “grieve” a force. Act 5:1-11 tells of two believers who lied to Holy Spirit. One cannot lie to a force. Verses 3 and 4 equate the Holy Spirit with God.

The Holy Spirit plays a major role both in our salvation and in our Spiritual growth. As we shall soon see, we, as believers, also have a great obligation to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.

In John 3:3-6 Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must experience a spiritual birth in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Being born once is not sufficient, “Ye must be born again” (v7). The word “again” here literally means “from above.” Jesus then explains how one could receive this new spirit birth, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16.

Jesus later proclaimed that His Holy Spirit would be received by those who believe in Him (John 7:37-39). He leaves His wavering disciples with the promise that He would not leave them comfortless but would send “...another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14: 16-19).

Speaking of this Comforter in John 16:7-15, He tells part of the Spirit’s functions concerning the world. Jesus says that He is to “...reprove the world of sin ...because they believe not on me” (vs 6, 7). This tells me several things. One, that is not my job to convict or even to reform the world. It is my job to lovingly and faithfully proclaim the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). And two, that the Holy Spirit’s job in the world is not to convict of sins, but to convict the world of the sin of unbelief. This fact should help to clarify my missionary focus. It is important to lovingly provide some physical, mental, and emotional needs in order to win people to Christ, but let us not make that the primary goal. Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, not to go into all the world and install sanitary sewers. It does little eternal good to educate people, feed and clothe them, reform them, then let them go to a Christless eternity. If trying to get the world to live like Christians should live was what the world needed, He would have given us that commission instead.

Later in the same chapter He tells us part of the Spirit’s function with believers. He is to guide us into all truth (v13) and He is to glorify Jesus (v14). Jesus said that God’s word is truth (John 17:17). God’s inspired word (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 2:21) tells us to be diligent in the study of His word (II Tim. 2:15). This will help us to mature and to be “ more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love...” (Eph. 4:14, 15). Many Christian’s doctrine is as strong as the last good speaker that they heard. If someone claims that they received something from the Holy Spirit, and it contradicts God’s word or is unglorifying to Jesus, we can rest assured that the spirit from whom it was received was not God’s Spirit.

After his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. There they would soon both receive and be baptized in or with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4, 5). This was fulfilled several days later at Pentecost as we read in the second chapter of Acts. This was the birthday of Christ’s Church, which is His body. Since shortly after that time all believers are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13). We are repeatedly told to be being filled or controlled with the Spirit. The Bible never tells us to be baptized by the Spirit because we already are.

This brings us to the issue of “grieving” the Spirit. Paul exhorts the carnal Corinthian believers in I Cor. 6:19-20, “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” God has redeemed us (bought and paid for us). We belong to Him and He lives within us. Now we are commanded to live a life in obedience to Him.

When we choose to be disobedient to God, this grieves Him. There are a number of specific sins mentioned in the immediate context of this command mentioned in Eph. 4:30: being given over to lasciviousness (unbridled lust), working uncleanness with greediness (v19), the old manner of life which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts (v22), lying (v25), sinning in the mishandling of anger (v26), giving place to the devil (v27, stealing (v28), corrupt speech (v29), bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (screaming), evil speaking (v31), unkindness, lack of compassion, and unforgiveness (v32).

All these terrible deeds could not be referring to believers, could they? Yes, they certainly are. This is written to the Church. These are ones who are saved but are exhorted to start living like Christians should (Eph. 4:1). This immediate context is referring to those who have already been forgiven by God (5:32). Believers are sinners who have received the payment for their sins. They are still sinners, but saved by grace.

A similar verse is found in I Thess. 5:19; “Quench not the Spirit.” This verse is found in the midst of a number of short, positive, and practical exhortations for believers. What is the distinction between these two verses? Some have suggested that Ephesians is speaking more of sin in action and I Thessalonians is speaking more of sin in rejection of true doctrine. Others have proposed that quenching the Spirit is resistance to the Spirit’s influence which leads to the sins involved with grieving Him. Whatever the precise distinction, it is clear that God is seeking for us to be yielded and obedient to His Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:16).

There are at least five passages in the New Testament that contains commands for us concerning the Holy Spirit; the above two verses which contain negative commands and three positive ones:

Gal. 5:16, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Gal. 5:25, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Eph. 5:18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Gal. 5:16, Walk in the Spirit. This simply means that our daily walk; how we live our lives, should be by means of or in accordance with the Holy Spirit. This yieldedness to God is the key to us not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. We tend to reverse this and think that if we can somehow work up enough power to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh that we will be spiritual. We need God’s power to overcome sin in our lives.

Gal. 5:25, Let us also walk in the Spirit. This word “walk” is a different word than is used in verse 16. This word means “to advance in line with.” The same word is translated in Gal. 6:16 as “walk according to.” It was also used of an army marching in rank.

Eph. 5:18, “Be filled with the Spirit.” Being filled with the Spirit is often likened to being baptized with the Spirit. This is an error that has caused confusion to many. They are not the same. “Filling,” when referring to the Holy Spirit means “to be influenced by or controlled by.”  (There are several other words that are translated “filled” in the New Testament but they have different meanings, such as being “filled,” with food, meaning “satisfied,” or a basket being “filled,” meaning “overflowing.” cf. Matt. 4:20).

What do these verses have in common? They are all saying much the same as many other commands for believers; God wants us to obey Him. When we do not, it brings displeasure to Him, along with other undesirable consequences.

This is the thrust of “Grieve not the holy Spirit of God;” Any kind of disobedience, rebellion, or unyieldedness to God is hurtful to Him and to us. Just as a loving parent is grieved when he sees his offspring rebelling and hurting himself, our loving Father is grieved when we choose to disobey Him. The positive side of obeying God’s Holy Spirit is found shortly after the admonition in Gal. 5:16 to Walk in the Spirit. As we are yielded to Him, He will produce the fruit of His Spirit in our lives; Love, joy, peace, etc. This is what the world is seeking but will not find until they look in the right place. Let us reevaluate our dedication to the One Who loved us and paid for our sins. Then may we rearrange our selfish and shortsighted priorities and set our affections on eternal things above (Col. 3:2).

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